Gregory Brennan, OFM
1951 – 2007
Fr. James Gregory Brennan, OFM, was born on April 10, 1951, in Troy, N.Y. He enrolled at Siena College, Loudonville, N.Y., where he graduated in 1973 with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy.
Fr. Gregory was received into the Order in 1973 at St. Francis Friary in Brookline, Mass., and professed his first vows there one year later. He studied theology at the Washington Theological Union while at Holy Name College in Washington, D.C.
In 1976, Fr. Greg asked to take some time away from academics, spending a pastoral year at St. Francis Chapel in Providence, R.I. He professed solemn vows in 1977 at St. Francis of Assisi Church in New York City. He then returned to Washington to complete his studies, receiving his master’s degree from the WTU in 1978. In 1979, he was ordained a priest at St. Camillus Church in Silver Spring, Md.
Following ordination, Fr. Greg served six years as parochial vicar at St. Bonaventure Church in Allegany, N.Y. In 1985, he was called to New York City to serve as parochial vicar at St. Stephen of Hungary Church. However, Greg had forged a strong bond with the people of Western New York, and in January 1987, he asked to be re-assigned there as part-time chaplain at St. Francis Hospital in Olean and part-time assistant director of purchasing at St. Bonaventure University. In 1989, he assumed a full-time position in the division of business and finance at St. Bonaventure and began his service of manager of fixed assets of the university in 2001.
In addition to his “desk job,” Greg carried on an extensive pastoral ministry. He served as pastor of the historic mission church of St. Pacificus in nearby Humphrey, N.Y., — built by Fr. Pamfilo da Magliano shortly after the 1855 arrival of the friars to Western New York — serving the congregation there with great dedication for 18 years. A trained firefighter, Fr. Greg was an active volunteer member of the Allegany Fire Department. He also served as chaplain to the Olean Fire Department and to the Ancient Order of Hibernians.
He somehow managed to find the time to serve as a volunteer with the Boy Scouts, too. Fr. Greg’s extensive involvements won him the 1997 Good News Award, bestowed on individuals whose activities enrich the Olean area community.
Fr. Greg, an avid outdoorsman, most likely died Aug. 17, 2007, drowning as the result of a boating accident on the Allegheny River Reservoir west of Salamanca, N.Y. He was 56 years old, a professed friar for 32 years and a priest for 28 years.